DOES SUNSCREEN PREVENT VITAMIN D ABSORPTION?
Summer is here.
After spending most of spring holed up inside, we’re all ready to catch some rays and boost our vitamin D levels. Faced with growing concerns about vitamin D deficiency, many people have decided to ditch the sunscreen in order to make sure their body absorbs enough ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, medical experts warn that this is a dangerous, potentially deadly decision.
It is proven that regular sunscreen protects you not just from sunburns but from skin damage and deadly forms of skin cancer. Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified solar UV radiation as a carcinogen. Studies have shown that regular use of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher reduces your chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%, melanoma by 50%, and premature skin aging by 24%. Regular sunscreen use is necessary to protect your health.
Additionally, the idea that sunscreen use leads to vitamin D deficiency is groundless. Clinical studies have never shown that daily sunscreen use leads to vitamin D deficiency. This is because no matter how high a sunscreen’s SPF may be, some of the sun’s UV rays still reach your skin. An SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93% of UVB rays while an SPF 50 sunscreen filters out 98%. This is good news because it doesn’t take much sun exposure for your body to produce vitamin D.
If you’re worried about your levels of vitamin D, then talk to your doctor about getting a
blood test. If you are vitamin D deficient, your doctor can help you come up with safe ways to get more vitamin D. These strategies may include changing your diet or taking supplements.
It is important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D, which helps maintain bone
health by regulating calcium levels. However, risking skin cancer in order to raise your vitamin D levels is not a safe strategy. Feel free to get plenty of sun this summer, just make sure you apply sunscreen before you go out.
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